How The Hair Growth Cycle Affects Permanent Hair Removal
How the Hair Growth Cycle Impacts Hair Removal Treatments
In order to get the best possible results from permanent hair removal treatments, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of how the human hair growth cycle works. When you know the nuances of how hair growth occurs on the different areas of the body, you can plan accordingly for maximum results and the shortest treatment timelines.
Let’s be perfectly honest right from the start here. Waxing, shaving, and other types of temporary hair removal are time-consuming, expensive, and often very uncomfortable, if not downright painful. It doesn’t take very long for anyone who’s using one of those methods as their standard way of hair removal to yearn for a better way. It’s easy to see why permanent hair removal is such an enticing idea, and even easier to understand why the popularity of permanent hair removal treatments continues to grow year after year.
For anyone who’s ready to jump right into the permanent hair removal process, we feel it’s wise to have a complete understanding of how it actually works, what to expect throughout each stage of treatment, and the different factors that can influence the time it takes to achieve the desired results. First, let’s go through the specifics of how our hair grows, and why it is referred to as the ‘hair growth cycle’.
How Does Human Hair Growth Actually Happen?
Hair follicles are present in almost every place on our bodies, from our heads to our toes, but not all of them follow an identical growth cycle. The hair on our scalps can be very different in length, appearance, and texture when compared to the hair on our underarms or legs. Nevertheless, each and every hair is generated using the same basic process inside the hair follicles.
At the base of each hair, the root is surrounded by a cluster of specialized cells whose sole purpose is to generate hair from a protein molecule known as keratin. The keratin building blocks are added to the base of the hair in layers, with each consecutive layer pushing the increasingly longer hair strand further out of the skin.
Now, the reason that the hair on our heads grows longer and thicker than the hairs found on our arms or legs is due to the differences of the hair growth cycles of head hair and body hair. You see, all human hair grows according to a 3-stage cycle, but the duration of each stage of the cycle is what results in shorter, finer hair on our bodies and longer, thicker hair on our heads.
The Hair Growth Cycle
The Anagen Phase
Also known as the ‘active stage’ of hair growth, the anagen phase is the time during which the cells within the follicle are actively building new hair material out of the keratin building blocks. On average, human hair grows at a rate of about 1cm, or approximately half an inch, in a 28-30 day period.
What is most interesting about the anagen phase is how its duration is so dramatically different for scalp hair compared to body hair. Generally, scalp hair will remain in the anagen phase for approximately 2-5 years. Body hair, on the other hand, has a much shorter anagen phase, lasting for only about 5-7 weeks on average. This is why hairs such as our arm hair, leg hair, or eyebrows only grow to a certain length, and then seem to stop.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that the anagen phase duration will also vary from person to person due to genetic factors. This is why some people have difficulty growing extremely long hair on their heads, no matter how patient they are, while others seem to have hair that never stops getting longer.
The Catagen Phase
This second phase of the hair growth cycle is when the hair enters a period of transition, from active growth to a dormant state. During the catagen phase, hairs will cease gaining any length and the fibrous outer sheath surrounding the base of the hair will begin to adhere to the strand and solidify. On average, most hairs spend about 2-3 weeks in this transitional phase before moving to the next stage of the cycle.
The Telogen Phase
The telogen phase is the third stage of the hair growth cycle, and this is when the hair follicles essentially fall asleep for a while and become dormant. The hairs in this stage are the ones that our body naturally sheds over time, however it’s not unusual for some hairs in the telogen stage to remain in place in the follicles for many weeks before finally falling out. For most people, the telogen stage of the hair growth cycle will last for about 12-13 weeks, or roughly 100 days.
At the conclusion of the telogen cycle, the hair follicles will naturally begin to ‘wake up’, and start the entire hair growth cycle again, over, over, and over. This is why when you shave, pluck, wax, sugar, or use depilatory creams to remove unwanted hairs, they’ll always grow back, sooner or later. In order to get those hairs gone, and have them stay gone for good, you need to use a different approach. That’s when it’s time to turn to a permanent hair removal method, such as intense pulsed light (IPL) hair removal.
How Does Permanent IPL Hair Removal Work?
In order to achieve permanent results from hair removal treatments, the process can’t just alter the hair strands like shaving or waxing does. Instead, the treatment needs to affect the follicle itself, and its ability to generate new hair strands. One of the most common and popular ways to achieve permanent hair removal is through the use of light energy.
Using a specialized treatment device, highly-concentrated light beams are directed at the area where hair removal is desired. The hair strands on this area of skin absorb the light and convert it into heat energy, which travels down the strand to the root, deep inside the hair follicles. The heat energy is then transferred to the surrounding cells, producing an inhibiting effect on their ability to build keratin molecules into hair material. Over time, the effects of these light-based treatments become cumulative, eventually leading to a complete stop to the hair follicles' ability to generate new hair. Once this occurs, the hair will never come back, and permanent hair removal has been achieved.
Light-based hair removal comes in two different forms; laser hair removal, and IPL hair removal. The distinguishing characteristic between these forms is the nature of the light used in each of the devices. With a true laser, the beams consist of a very narrow portion of the light spectrum. This is why true laser beams appear as a particular color of light, typically blue, red, or green. Unfortunately, this also means that laser hair removal has a downside to it, because the narrow spectrum of light use in its beams can only be effectively absorbed by a very specific set of skin and hair tone combinations. In a nutshell, lasers are generally only good for individuals who have a very light skin tone and a very dark hair tone.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices, on the other hand, don’t just use one portion of the light spectrum. These devices use a much broader range of visible light to perform their treatments, and this in turn means that IPL can offer permanent hair removal results to a far more diverse group of individuals who have skin and hair tone combinations that simply cannot be effectively treated by true lasers. This makes IPL hair removal appeal to a much larger segment of the population, and also helps to explain why IPL is so sought-after as the preferred method of achieving smooth, hair-free skin that lasts.
Planning IPL Hair Removal Treatments To Account For The Hair Growth Cycle
Now, let’s connect the dots between the hair growth cycle and the way that IPL hair removal works to achieve permanent results. First things first, there needs to be a portion of hair currently present inside a particular follicle in order for the light to be absorbed and converted into heat energy. This means that any follicle that is currently missing a hair due to being in the dormant phase of the hair growth cycle will not be affected by the treatment. Let’s explain this in more detail.
At any given time, the hair follicles on our bodies can be in any one of the three stages, and as some follicles move from the dormant phase back to the active growth stage, others will enter the transitional or dormant stage. This means that when you are performing an individual treatment with an IPL device, you’re only affecting those hairs that currently have a hair inside them. Any follicle that has lost its hair during the telogen phase won’t be able to be treated until it re-enters the anagen phase and grows enough hair material to absorb the light. On a side note, this is also why it’s advised to not pluck or wax the areas that are being treated using IPL, as the absence of hair material in the follicles prevents optimum absorption of light and makes the treatments less efficient. Shaving is best to prep the skin, as it leaves a small portion of hair inside the follicle, allowing for maximum light absorption and optimum heat energy conversion.
In order to achieve 100% permanent hair removal results, patience is necessary. Since the telogen phase can last for around 100 days, more than 3 months can pass by before all of the follicles that are asleep today will have woken up to be treated. Nevertheless, with each successive IPL treatment, an increasing number of follicles in the anagen and catagen phases will have been treated. As the follicles in the telogen phase wake up and re-enter the anagen phase, they will be treated next, and so on and so forth.
This continues until all the follicles in the treatment area that were in the telogen phase have been treated after they re-entered the anagen phase. Once all the follicles in the area have gone through this process, the area will be completely hair free, permanently, as there will be no more untreated follicles left to wake up.
Now, when it comes to the devices themselves, they are certainly not all created equal. In fact, some IPL hair removal devices can help to reduce the time needed to get the results you want, while also being far easier to use and much more comfortable on the skin during treatments. If that sounds good to you, then allow us to introduce you to the innovative Silk’n Infinity At-Home IPL Hair Removal device.
Speed Up Permanent Hair Removal Results With The Silk’n Infinity
Silk’n has always led the way in cutting-edge at-home hair removal devices, but the Infinity has truly taken things to a whole new level. With a wide array of impressive features, advanced technology, and an unparalleled user-friendly design, the Silk’n Infinity is the last hair removal device you’ll ever need, and we mean that literally. The Infinity utilizes a special ultra-long-life light emitter that is capable of producing 400,000 light pulses without ever needing to be replaced. This means you’ll be able to get a lifetime's worth of amazing hair removal treatments from a single bulb.
One of the biggest advantages that the Infinity has over other IPL devices is the integration of galvanic energy into the treatment process. Through a diode built into the tip of the device, a stream of warming galvanic energy is transmitted to the surface of the skin as the Infinity passes over the treatment area. This energy works to stimulate circulation, accelerate the skin's natural rejuvenation processes, and provide greater comfort during each treatment. Not only that, but the galvanic energy helps to relax the pores and encourage them to open wider at the skin's surface, thereby allowing the light pulses to more easily penetrate deep down to the base of the hairs inside the follicles. This has the benefit of increasing the efficiency of each individual light pulse, enabling the user to achieve better results in the least amount of time.
Beat The Cycle & Get Permanently Smooth Skin
If the hair growth cycle has you trapped in an endless loop of shaving, waxing or costly salon appointments, now is the time to break free and discover a better way to manage unwanted hair with Silk’n IPL hair removal devices. We guarantee that even after the first treatment, you’ll be convinced that you made the right choice, and we know that you’ll love the time and money you’ll save by never having to deal with that annoying unwanted hair again. Get started today!